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Poster: Rings&Bells Date: Nov 11, 2008 7:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Most poetic Dead song?

Don't know if this has been covered before but I thought it would make for some interesting discussion. I just finished taking a poetry class and it has gotten me thinking about Dead lyrics in a whole new way. I would have to say as far as ability to stand alone as a poem is concerned "Terrapin Station" definitely takes the cake. It invokes the muse not once but twice and contains an epic-like tale and beautiful imagery. "Dark Star" also has very powerful imagery and would make for a great poem even if the fantastic song that goes with it were never there.

Reading all the required poems for the course also gave me a respect for Robert Hunter and his ability as a poet. He even references T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in "Stella Blue" with the "I've stayed in every blue-light cheap hotel" line which is quite similar to "of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels".

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Poster: borges1 Date: Nov 11, 2008 8:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

also references prufrock in dark star with 'shall we go...'

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Nov 11, 2008 9:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I never took a poetry class so I could be way off base but Mountains of the Moon always felt like a poem to me.

Cold mountain water, the jade merchants daughter,
Mountains of the moon, electra bow and bend to me.
Hi ho the carrion crow fol de rol de riddle
Hi ho the carrion crow bow and bend to me.

Hey, tom banjo hey a laurel, more than laurel you say sow.
More than laurel you may sow.
Hey, the laurel, hey the city in the rain,
Hey, hey, hey the wild wheat waving in the wind.

Twenty degrees of solitude, twenty degrees in all,
All the dancing kings and wives assembled in the hall.
Lost is the long and loneliest town fairly sybil flying.
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon.

Hey, tom banjo its time to matter,
The earth will see you on through this time,
The earth will see you on through this time.

Down by the water, the marsh kings daughter, did you know?
Clothed in totters always will be. tom, where did you go?

Mountains of the moon, electra, mountains of the moon,
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon.

Hi ho the carrion crow fol de rol de riddle
Hi ho the carrion crow bow and bend to me.
Bend to me. na da da da da da da da da da da da.

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Poster: paulypecker Date: Nov 12, 2008 8:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I know it's a bit obscure and was played only once in '88 and '90 with a handful in between but "Built To Last" is a fine example of Hunter's way with words and Jerry had some tough times recalling the verses on this one and got them mixed up quite often.Granted it's not the easiest to get the words down with the chorus continuously changing.

There are times when you can beckon
There are times when you must call
You can take a lot of reckoning
But you can't take it all
There are times when I can help you out
And times when you must fall
There are times when you must live in doubt
And I can't help at all

Three blue stars/Rise on the hill
Say no more,now/Just be still
All these trials/Soon be past
Look for something/Built to last

A wind held by the collar
A cloud held by the breeze
You can walk on coals of fire
But sometimes you must freeze
There are times when you offend me
And I do the same to you
If we can't or won't forget it
I guess we could be through

One blue star/Sets on the hill
Call it back/You never will
One more star/Sinks in the past
Show me something/Built to last

Built to last till time itself
Falls tumbling from the wall
Built to last till sunshine fails
And darkness moves on all
Built to last while years roll past
Like cloudscapes in the sky
Show me something built to last
Or something built to try

There are times when you get hit upon
Try hard but you cannot give
Other times you'd gladly part
With what you need to live
Don't waste your breath to save your face
When you have done your best
And even more is asked of you
Fate will decide the rest

All the stars/Are gone but one
Morning breaks/Here comes the sun
Cross the sky/Now sinking fast
Show me something/Built to last

Three blue stars/Rise on the hill
Say no more,now/Just be still
All these trials/Soon be past
Look for something/Built to last

One blue star/Sets on the hill
Call it back/You never will
One more star/Sinks in the past
Show me something/Built to last

All the stars/Are gone but one
Morning breaks/Here comes the sun
Cross the sky/Now sinking fast
Show me something/Built to last

It's easy to see how Jerry would miss many of the words, it's long and confusing to remember, but a great song nonetheless.

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Poster: jemajn2323 Date: Nov 12, 2008 4:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I find it impossible to read Hunter without hearing Jerry, which really isn't fair in a sense, but hey that is the seed that was sowed. I truly believe this band would not have "happened" without the Hunter component. No Euroupe, no wall of sound, no Winterlanding, no 77, no heads, no archive or forum; fuckin scary.

Staring into ooey gooey space listening to Liams' suggestion - 7/1/79, I keep thinking Terrapin.
Yeah, Terrapin.

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Poster: ducats Date: Nov 12, 2008 6:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

China Doll

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Nov 12, 2008 10:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

ducats, that is an awesome selection. I went with China Cat but I think you may have it.

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Poster: paulypecker Date: Nov 11, 2008 8:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I always liked the lyrics to "Crazy Fingers". Hunter uses many metaphors in this one. It's written in Haiku-style verses and Hunter references other works throughout it, such as:
"Hang your heart on laughing willow"- which is taken from an old song-"There is a Tavern in The Town" written anonymously around 1883. Here's an excerpt:
"I can no longer stay with you
I'll hang my harp on a weeping willow tree
And may the world go well with thee"

Also-"Reaching for the gold ring" is a reference to "reaching for the brass ring",i.e.-wealth or success.
If you'd like to learn a lot more about Hunter's lyrics/references check out "The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics" website. This has a wealth of info and explanations for Hunter/Garcia songs. I find it extremely educational and enlightening. Try it if you haven't already. It will help you a lot with your studies. Have fun!

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Poster: kochman Date: Nov 12, 2008 8:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Days Between

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Poster: high flow Date: Nov 12, 2008 9:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Really like MOTM and Ripple, from the previous answers.

On the lighter side....Scarlet Begonias.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Nov 12, 2008 9:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

always been partial to Lazy River Road for the lyrics. a very poetic song which stands alone well in written form.

too many others to choose from though. Hunter and Barlow are/were lyrical masters (usually)

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Poster: craven714 Date: Nov 12, 2008 9:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Tennessee Jed :)

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Nov 12, 2008 10:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

leave it up to you for that one - lol

;)

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Poster: Speaking in Swords Date: Nov 11, 2008 10:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

New Potato Caboose

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Poster: paulypecker Date: Nov 12, 2008 1:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

"Cassidy" is one of my favorites:

I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream,
I can tell by the mark he left you were in his dream.
Ah, child of countless trees,ah, child of boundless seas.
What you are, what you're meant to be.
Speaks his name though you were born to me,
Born to me, Cassidy.

Lost now on the country miles in his Cadillac.
I can tell by the way you smile he is rolling back.
Come wash the nighttime clean,
Come grow the scorched ground green.
Blow the horn and tap the tambourine.
Close the gap of the dark years in between You and me,Cassidy.

Quick beats of an icy heart
Catch colt draws a coffin cart,
There he goes and now here she starts, hear her cry.

Flight of the seabirds,scattered like lost words,
Wheel to the storm and fly.

Faring thee well now,let your life proceed by its own design
Nothing to tell now,let the words be yours,
I'm done with mine

Flight of the seabirds, etc.

Too many great ones to single only one out so this is my second suggestion. To add one more, maybe "Lazy River Road".
Nice lyrics as well. Good imagery.

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Poster: snori Date: Nov 12, 2008 1:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Blues for Allah.

Arabian wind
The Needle's Eye is thin
The Ships of State sail on mirage
but drown in sand
in No-Man's Land
where ALLAH does command

What good is spilling
blood? It will not
grow a thing

"TASTE ETERNITY"
the sword sings Blues for ALLAH
In'sh'ALLAH

They lie where they fall
There's nothing more to say
The desert stars are bright tonight,
let's meet as friends
The flower of Islam
The fruit of Abraham

The thousand stories have
come round to one again
Arabian Night
our gods pursue their fight
What fatal flowers of
darkness spring from
seeds of light

Bird of Paradise - Fly
In white sky
Blues for ALLAH
In'sh'ALLAH

Let's see with our heart
these things our eyes have seen
and know the truth will still lie
somewhere in between

Under eternity
Under eternity
Under eternity
Blue
Bird of Paradise
Fly
In white sky
Under eternity
Blues
for ALLAH
In'sh'ALLAH

"Blues For Allah"

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Poster: Chiklod Date: Nov 11, 2008 8:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Crazy Fingers

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Poster: Agricola Date: Nov 12, 2008 3:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I can't believe nobody's mentioned Ripple.

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Poster: Winsome_Holstein_Nebuula Date: Nov 12, 2008 3:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Ripple is as close to a Psalm as they come.

It's a lovely and deeply spiritual poem, it's a lullabye, it's a prayer.

As a pure song or poem, it's one of their finest works.

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Poster: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 Date: Nov 12, 2008 8:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

i dont know if its the most poetic but i like must have been the roses!! http://arts.ucsc.edu/GDead/aGDL/must.html

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Poster: paulypecker Date: Nov 13, 2008 7:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

OK,here's one more-China Doll,already spoken about, but check out my favorite version from 2-15-73.Sweetness.Vocals, on the SB recording especially, are superbly executed.Don't miss it!!!

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Nov 12, 2008 9:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

My two cents..........

Mountains of the Moon

Personal favorite verse

"20 degrees of solitude
20 degrees in all
All the dancing kings & wives
assembled in the hall
Lost is a long & lonely time
Fairy Sybil flying
All along the all along
the Mountains of the Moon"

Whew!!


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Poster: craven714 Date: Nov 12, 2008 7:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

South of market in the land of ruin
You get all manner of action
Tinsel tigers in the metal room
Stalking satisfaction.
They got em packaged up for love and money
Tattooed tots and chrome spike bunnies
Check my conscience at the dmz
And roll on in, gonna roll in it, honey
But I get a feelin like when big things collide
Like the crack before the thunder, like I really ought to hide
And here comes metal angel, she looks ready to ride;
& whats that shes tryin to show me..?
Whats that youre tryin to show me..?

Picasso moon, shattered light
Diamond bullets ripping up the night
Picasso moon, liberate me,
From the middle of eternity,
Something hooks her little finger at me,
An its bigger than a drive-in movie, ooooo-eeee.
Bigger than a drive-in movie, ooooo-eeee.

Hangin ten out on space and time
Redefining distance.
The next skull on your necklace is mine:
Cheap for such assistance
I had a job trading bits for pieces
Wed make wrinkles, advertise them as creases
Please, find my resignation enclosed,
Roll with it, roll with it, we gonna roll in it, honey..,
Dark angel, whats botherin you?
So strange, youll do me all that you do
Dark angel, youre makin me blue..,
I guess it doesnt matter..,
I guess it doesnt matter...

Picasso moon, blinding ball,
Spinning fire, the lightning calls
Picasso moon, fall into the sky
Rarin out, Im gonna testify
And stare a shout into that burning eye,
Bigger than a drive-in movie, oh my.
Bigger than a drive-in movie, oh my.

Strikes morning; the atomic dawn,
Scramble back to cover.
Quick, pop your mirrored sunglasses on,
My little leather-winged lover.
I see your face printed on my money,
Your blazin ways really move me, honey..!
Heart of darkness, yea-e-yea-e-e-hoo..,
Whym I laughing? this aint funny
Dark angel, now just dont start..,
Youll break my spirit, wreck my heart
You must have a license for practisin that art.
I dont presume to imagine.
I dont presume to imagine.

Picasso moon, fractal flame
Blazing lace filling every frame
Picasso moon, wheels within wheels
Whats true when everythings real?
Its all new, Im gonna scatter the seals
Bigger than a drive-in movie, for real.
Bigger than a drive-in movie, for real.

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Poster: Purple Gel Date: Nov 11, 2008 9:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I love the images that China Cat brings up, great poetry.

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Nov 12, 2008 8:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

China cat

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Nov 11, 2008 9:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Box Of Rain...most poetic and most touching too...

"This was all a dream we dreamed
One afternoon
Long ago..."

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 12, 2008 6:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Have to go with MoftheMoon too...great poetry.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Nov 12, 2008 7:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I concur with "Cassidy" and "Crazy Fingers" especially, whcih also has such cool Zen elements ("recall the days that still are to come")....and another tune which I love for its poetry is MUST HAVE BEEN THE ROSES.

"Ten years the waves rolled the ships home from the sea
Thinking well how it may blow in all good company
If I tell another what your own lips told to me
May I lay 'neath the roses
May my eyes no longer see..."

"One pane of glass in the window
No one is complaining, though: 'Come in and shut the door.'
Faded is the crimson from the ribbons that she wore
and it's strange how no one comes around any more."

Robert Hunter is perhaps the most underrated lyricist ever.

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Nov 12, 2008 10:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

Being a retired Navy submariner, Lost Sailor always had a special place for me. When we were doing night surface transits (relatively rare for a submarine) I would always have a boom box up in the bridge cockpit quietly playing various tunes. I will never forget one transit out of Scotland back in the mid-80s - it was December 84, Halley's Comet was visible, the Milky Way was so bright we could read transit charts by the starlight. It was cold - in the 20s and the sea was flat glass calm. Every star in the sky was mirrored on the surface. The only disturbance was the wake of our passage (Wake of the Flood?????) and the green-blue glow of bioluminescent plankton agitated as we passed. We were north of Ireland near Rathlin Isle - around 2 AM the aurora came up, sheets of red and green and gold billowing across the sky. No one on the bridge spoke a single word - it seemed as if we could hear the northern lights whispering their intricate dance of colors.

Wonderful imagery......

Compass card is spinning, helm is swinging to and fro
Oh, where is the dog star, oh, where's the moon.
You're a lost sailor, been away too long at sea.

Somedays the gales are howling, sometimes the sea is still as glass.
Oh, raise the main sail, oh, lash the mast.
You're a lost sailor, been away too long at sea.
Now the shorelines beckon, there is a price for being free.

There's a sea bird cryin' and there's a ghost wind blowing
And it's calling you, to that misty swirling sea.
Till the chains of your dreams are broken,
No place in this world you can be.

You're a lost sailor, been away too long at sea.
Now the shorelines beckon, there is a price for being free.

You pay for being free, I'll tell ya freedom don't come easy,
Free don't always come for free,
Sometimes it's hard to know what to believe in.

Where to go, who to go, where to be, who to be.
That means you're driftin'.... driftin'
Yeah driftin' and dreamin', really goin' on a dream now.
Really goin' on a feelin', really goin' on a feelin'.
Driftin', driftin' and dreamin'.

Cause it's a place you've never been
Maybe a place you've never seen now
You can hear them callin' on the wind
Driftin' and dreamin', driftin' and dreamin'.
Really goin' on a dream now, really goin' on a dream now,
Really goin' on a dream now.

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Poster: jemajn2323 Date: Nov 12, 2008 9:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most poetic Dead song?

I don't read poetry but damn, Roses sure does smack of "real" poetry!? Seriously!
I still say it's hard to seperate Hunters words from the music we associate them with. But it sure is cool to see everyone try!